New Prediction Factors for Divorce

October 16, 2014

In Your Chances of Divorce May Be Much Lower Than You Think  I summarized a Pew Research report on the factors that decrease divorce risk, including:

  • Marrying after age 25
  • Earning a college degree
  • Making over 50K per year
  • Religious affiliation
  • Coming from an intact family of origin

It’s no secret that marriage is increasingly becoming an institution most prized by the educated elite. A recent study examining the relationship between wedding expenses and marriage duration turned up interesting findings about wedding expenses and other factors.

Things that decrease the risk of divorce:

1. Dating more than three years at the time of proposal. 

2. Taking a real honeymoon.

3. Getting an education.

Those couples with “some college” or less are most likely to divorce. Divorce rates decrease with a 2 year degree, even more with a 4 year degree, and most of all with a graduate degree.

4. High household income.

As income goes up, divorce rates go down.

5. Living in the Western U.S.

Highest divorce rates are in the south, followed by the midwest and then the northeast.

6. Having children.

Born in wedlock is best, but even before marriage is better than no kids.

7. Regular religious attendance.

 

Things that increase the risk of divorce:

1. Viewed partner wealth as important at time of proposal.

The effect was present for both sexes but stronger for women.

2. Viewed partner’s looks as important at time of proposal.

True for both sexes but extremely strong for men.

3. Being employed part-time. 

4. Age difference with older male.

5. Race difference.

6. Different education levels.

7. No engagement ring. 

Interestingly, stronger effect on the men.

In the sample of all persons, greater differences in age and education between husband and wife and reporting that one’s partner’s looks were important in the decision to marry are both significantly associated with a higher hazard of divorce.

On the other hand, relatively high household income, regularly attending religious services, having a child with one’s partner, relatively high wedding attendance, and going on a honeymoon are all significantly associated with a lower hazard of divorce.

Computer scientist Randal Olson created some graphics in his blog post What Makes For a Stable Marriage? to highlight some of the findings. Of particular interest is this one:

marriage-stability-attitude

If you prioritize your partner’s looks as a prerequisite to commitment, your chance of divorce goes up 40%! And despite the fact that higher earning households divorce less, making partner wealth a priority bucks that trend.

Clearly, the low divorce couples live traditional, conventional lives that are carefully planned. They delay marriage until they are financially stable, and their prospects are good.

In contrast, the high divorce rate couples avoid assortative mating and make shallow choices.

The findings re wedding expenditures were mixed and/or inconclusive. They did conclude that lavish weddings do not increase the duration of marriage.

Does anything here surprise you?

Filed in: Hooking Up Realities • Tags: ,